Where stories are born

We’re walking along the damp, shiny, puddle-laden streets of Venice, trying not to stumble or get hit by one of the trillions of umbrellas moving to and fro down the narrow walkways.

We stop at a shop window in an alley barely big enough to stand side by side, and we stare at a gorgeous steampunk owl perched on a stack of books. It’s a shop full of stunning, handmade chess sets, rugs and wall hangings in intricate designs of Venice in breath taking colours, and clocks and owls like the one in the window.

The owl was well outside our price range and luggage allowance. But Nic came home with a gorgeous black and silver filigree fountain pen.

And as we walked on down the street, I mentioned that I’d like to try my hand at steampunk one day, though I’d have a lot of research to do on the genre first.


We’d been discussing climate change throughout our trip and particularly in Venice, where they had truly terrible flooding a few weeks ago, far worse than the usual aqua alta. The Venicians seem to roll with it, but as you watch the water lap at the top steps of the docks and walk on table-bridges across the squares, you can see the inevitable happening before your eyes. And so all that unusual beauty leaves a bittersweet tang in your soul. I thought, more than once, that you never know when it will be the last time you see a place.

And, we’re back…

So, we’re walking along having this discussion about steampunk and how it still fits inside my genre niche, and Nic says, “what if the city itself is a steampunk element? Like, if it didn’t have to sink because they built stuff to make it rise each time the water rose?”

And that, my friends, is how stories are born. The wonderful ‘what if’ question that takes you on a journey. And now it’s whizzing through my head and I’m considering the population, the ultimate conflict, and who will save the day…

Being a writer is awesome, and being married to one rocks too. A few more pics below.

The waters receding in Piazza San Marco

What will this look like in fifty years when people can only see it by diving?

6 thoughts on “Where stories are born

  1. If you ever need visuals, there’s a scene at the end of Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond, Casino Royale, that’s shot in a Venetian house that’s sinking. You get to see all the measures they’ve taken to keep it in place. πŸ™‚


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